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Book versus Power

Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History


Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak

This volume considers the various interactions between the culture of the book and politics in Polish history. Each of the fourteen authors deals with a different topic, chronologically starting with the beginnings of the early Piast monarchy in the 10 th century up to contemporary times: for instance, E. Potkowski discusses the political ambitions of Duke Mieszko I and his descendants with regard to the introduction of early writing and reading in Poland; A. Kamler analyses the attitude of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 1500s towards books and education; and D. Jarosz traces the changing approach of the communists towards book production and the promotion of readership in their attempts to persuade Polish society to accept their ideology.
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Papal Plenitude of Power and World History: Papal Political Ideology in the Chronicle of Martin the Pole


Medievalists have long been puzzled by the popularity of the Chronicle of Popes and Emperors of Martin the Pole1. This phenomenon has been explained by the external characteristics of the work—the usefulness in scholarly and educational work of the synchronistic table arrangement employed by the author, which enabled quick access to historical facts and dates. This feature seemed all the more important, since the chronicle flourished at a time when good reference libraries were at best scarce.2 But this inference has a certain flaw. It fails to account for the collapse of the chronicle’s popularity in the fourteenth century. It is hardly credible that during the hundred years that followed Martin’s death better tabular chronicles appeared and replaced his masterpiece, or that reference libraries suddenly became widely available. True, many universal chronicles were written, but none came even near to the popularity of Martin’s. Still more puzzling is the fact that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there circulated re-workings of Martin’s chronicle under his name that by no means used the table layout, while still remaining quite popular.3

This article is a reworked version of the first two sections of chapter 3 of: J. Soszyński, Sacerdotium – imperium – studium. Władze uniwersalne w późnośredniowiecznych kronikach martyniańskich, [Sacerdotium—Imperium—Studium: Universal Powers in Late Medieval Chronicae Martinianae] Warsaw, 2006, 91–133. ← 45 | 46 →

There must have been some other factor that made the Chronicle of Popes and Emperors immediately acceptable,...

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